On Crisis in general and the Sequester: Are you scared? Numbed by all the crisis?

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We have a "sequester crisis" here in the USA. Apparently, as our Federal government, once again, can't govern, auto cuts are going to happen. George Will today writes that the crisis is a fraud. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-the-manufactured-crisis-of-sequester/2013/02/22/d22d4466-7c81-11e2-82e8-61a46c2cde3d_story.html

They'll be doing a rounding change on the amount we borrow and spend.

But he takes another shot at global warming too. Is it a crisis? Didn't we already have a crisis in the 1970s about global cooling?

I am told in these pages that only Newsweek and Time were confused about cooling rather than warming. Everyone else knew warming was the issue. But Will again writes,

"Remember when "a major cooling of the climate" was "widely considered inevitable" (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation" (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must "stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery" (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that "the world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974)." If "everyone" knew warming was the problem, not cooling, why were so many news sources focused, with citations, on cooling?

And, with all the false alarms (if they are false) can you ever get that excised about the next crisis ever again?

I think a lot of the problem with global temperature changes is that people don't understand how long-term and variable climate is. Also they don't quite grasp the concept of noise etc. They see that the temperature goes down from one year to the next and think "The temperature is going down"

Another crisis I often see brought up as a non-event is Y2K, which I frankly find insulting. So many people spent so much time making it that non-event, it wasn't a problem because we fixed it, not because it was never a threat. We're going to start running into the same problem again soon too and people that aren't in the business of correcting it are going to completely dismiss it.

Gorfias:

But he takes another shot at global warming too. Is it a crisis? Didn't we already have a crisis in the 1970s about global cooling?

No, we didn't.

This is one of the most tedious and odious myths frequently used to mislead the public.

Back in the 1970s, there was much, much less knowledge and evidence what was going on. A few - very much a minority - of papers reported cooling, and news media made a big deal about it.

To a large extent, arguing global warming is a sham because there was a 1970s cooling crisis is a bit like arguing that smoking isn't bad for you, because in 1950 there was no evidence smoking was bad for you. It's very obviously a terrible argument, and for anyone like this Will guy to employ it tells me the guy is an idiot or charlatan.

As for why mass media made a big thing about it, that's another issue: basically because mass media is traditionally awful at science reporting.

Sequester wouldn't be much of an issue if we where an healthy economy but we're not we're in a recovery. And we're not taking 85 billion away from waste or things we won't need we're taking it away from day to day activities of the government. However there are still 700k jobs at risk over a number of years because of the cuts.

http://macroadvisers.blogspot.com/2013/02/mas-alternative-scenario-march-1_19.html

The guy you link to gives the Navy as an example, the Navy won't be launching an air craft carrier because that comes out of their discretionary spending budget. The budget that would be capped. If we where to instead shift that reduction in budget to buying new tanks or aircraft(something we have plenty of) we wouldn't have this problem however the DoD can't do that, those tanks and aircraft have already been written into law and budgets it's not part of the DoD's discretionary spending. We're not talking about the cut of 85 billion being the problem it's how it's going to be applied.

As far as global cooling is concerned around 1979 the trend of global cooling completely reversed itself to continue the general trend upwards of temperatures. That was a couple years after those article and research papers where made. These papers where working on a body of 20 years worth of data, climate scientists are now looking at about a 100 years worth of data now to show trends.

Believing that our tiny contribution to the CO2 or other similar gasses that exacerbate the greehouse effect is the sole reason for the shift in climate is wrong. The largest and most important is the sun, after which there are other impacts on the planet's atmosphere. The change of the climate isn't a scam, it's a natural occurrence. The alarmists are pushing for more research and more money spent on their sector as the 'renewable energy' fields struggle to get up on their feet. Had it not been for Thatcher nuclear energy would have been much less advanced than today. It's much less effective to produce energy through any renewable energy source than any of the older methods, but scientists keep on pushing for more advancements in the field to make these forms of energy production more appealing. Great for them, but stop scaring my neighbors.

My view on man made climate change is that's its real, but the dangers are overblown. People have a habit of spotting a pattern and saying "This is where we will be in X years "if" this pattern continues". That "if" is the important part.

Our CO2 production leads to a warmer climate, but there are diminishing returns, and that process must "cap" at some point. Considering the amount of time we have spent burning large amounts of fossil fuels, we might be just about their already. All patterns must have a stopping point, otherwise you could say that CO2 production will eventually lead to the earth being hotter than the surface of the sun.

Glasgow:
Believing that our tiny contribution to the CO2 or other similar gasses that exacerbate the greehouse effect is the sole reason for the shift in climate is wrong.

Climate science doesn't say warming's all down to CO2 and related gases, does it? It says CO2 is probably the most significant problem.

The largest and most important is the sun, after which there are other impacts on the planet's atmosphere.

Gee. I wonder if climate scientists have correlated solar activity and warming at all?

cthulhuspawn82:

Our CO2 production leads to a warmer climate, but there are diminishing returns, and that process must "cap" at some point. Considering the amount of time we have spent burning large amounts of fossil fuels, we might be just about their already. All patterns must have a stopping point, otherwise you could say that CO2 production will eventually lead to the earth being hotter than the surface of the sun.

This is just waffle.

It is theoretically true that the planet cannot warm indefinitely. However, if one wants to look at where a "greenhouse effect" might cap, we might observe Venus: surface temperature over 400 degrees Celsius. To say we my be close to the Earth's cap is so evidence-free that you may as well say that fairies and Santa Claus will come to save us from global warming with a similar degree of intellectual credibility.

Agema:

No, we didn't. [have a global warming crisis in the 1970s]

This is one of the most tedious and odious myths frequently used to mislead the public.

Back in the 1970s, there was much, much less knowledge and evidence what was going on. A few - very much a minority - of papers reported cooling, and news media made a big deal about it.

If Will is right, it was a lot more than just Time and Newsweek reporting it. And why focus on Global Cooling if everyone else sees global warming? I'd think, because there really was a cooling problem at the time. It just wasn't a crisis that we absolutely had to do something about, such as spreading soot on our North and South Poles.

To a large extent, arguing global warming is a sham because there was a 1970s cooling crisis is a bit like arguing that smoking isn't bad for you, because in 1950 there was no evidence smoking was bad for you.

I think Will's gist was more like the effect on the town's people of the boy crying wolf (albeit, over many different issues). The Fiscal Cliff! Sequester! Global Cooling! Alar! How much can we take till we roll our eyes at everything, even on issues where we shouldn't? Will argues that the public has reacted to the Sequester!!! issue in this manner. He also seems to be writing, we should be rolling our eyes on this one.

cthulhuspawn82:
My view on man made climate change is that's its real, but the dangers are overblown. People have a habit of spotting a pattern and saying "This is where we will be in X years "if" this pattern continues". That "if" is the important part.

Our CO2 production leads to a warmer climate, but there are diminishing returns, and that process must "cap" at some point. Considering the amount of time we have spent burning large amounts of fossil fuels, we might be just about their already. All patterns must have a stopping point, otherwise you could say that CO2 production will eventually lead to the earth being hotter than the surface of the sun.

We're no where near a "capping" point, if scientists wanted to make a capping point it would probably be when all the arctic permafrost is gone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_methane_release

Methane is a more dangerous greenhouse gas than CO2.

Oh man, not climate denialists again... It's like creationism: They're not getting any smarter or any less wrong. It's tiresome and annoying.

Not to mention that even if they wish to be ignorant of science, they can't miss the signs of more extreme weather and climate change occuring right now.

cthulhuspawn82:
Our CO2 production leads to a warmer climate, but there are diminishing returns, and that process must "cap" at some point. Considering the amount of time we have spent burning large amounts of fossil fuels, we might be just about their already. All patterns must have a stopping point, otherwise you could say that CO2 production will eventually lead to the earth being hotter than the surface of the sun.

The only problem is, by the time man made global warming can 'cap off' if we do nothing, the planet will be unhabitable for humans.

dmase:
We're no where near a "capping" point, if scientists wanted to make a capping point it would probably be when all the arctic permafrost is gone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_methane_release

Methane is a more dangerous greenhouse gas than CO2.

Not to mention, the albedo change. The icecaps reflect a lot of heat into space, the Earth will absorb more when they are gone.

Mind you, by the same token, forests absorb more light than grasslands, so deforestation isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Blablahb:
Oh man, not climate denialists again... It's like creationism: They're not getting any smarter or any less wrong. It's tiresome and annoying.

This is actually the funniest thread I've seen in awhile. Creationists I can understand. But those who believe in science in general, but deny global warming because they find it convenient to their economical perspective? Fucking gold.

Gorfias:

If Will is right, it was a lot more than just Time and Newsweek reporting it. And why focus on Global Cooling if everyone else sees global warming? I'd think, because there really was a cooling problem at the time. It just wasn't a crisis that we absolutely had to do something about, such as spreading soot on our North and South Poles.

I would direct you to the likes of:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/10/global-cooling-was-a-myth.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11643-climate-myths-they-predicted-global-cooling-in-the-1970s.html

The first is quite interesting, as it tackles George Will head on. Although it seems to date from 2005, which gives an indication of quite how long Will has been misrepresenting reality to his readership. I must presume deliberately, because I can hardly imagine no-one's pointed this sort of thing out to him.

* * *

The nature of science is that it creates a lot of data, and when we're trying to find out what's going on much of that data presents different stories - potentially contradictory ones. It is thus very easy for lying scumbags and lazy, incompetent journalists to tell a completely distorted picture of what's going by selective use of data to make their story.

Imagine, for instance, a journo interviewed ten witnesses of a murder, nine of whom said the culprit was a nondescript man with brown hair and jeans, and the tenth said it was a humanoid lizard in Nazi costume. And the journo then wrote a news article "Lizardman Nazi murders woman". He could of course justify it: after all, there's evidence from a witness says so. However, that journalist and article should merit our contempt for obvious reasons. The same goes for journalists who mangle scientific evidence. Except that they all too frequently get away with it, because whilst the public can generally recognise Lizardmen Nazis don't exist, they don't know the state of science to realise they are being sold lies.

This is actually very common. In the UK, for instance, we had a massive public panic over the MMR vaccine causing autism, all because rubbish journalists screwed up their science reporting. As a result, it caused a spike in measles cases - several children died. Those journalists and news organisations will not be held responsible, show no embarrassment or guilt: they will not have learnt and will do the same again.

In particular, the average mass media science journalist doesn't even have a science degree. He understands little of what he's reporting on in terms of facts or methodology. He does however have a clear mandate to write an exciting story that's going to catch the imagination of the public - whether generally or a special interest group - and sell copies. It's not hard to see why information flow from relatively esoteric, expert professions - science not being the only one - is appalling.

Agema:

I would direct you to the likes of:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/10/global-cooling-was-a-myth.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11643-climate-myths-they-predicted-global-cooling-in-the-1970s.html

The first is quite interesting, as it tackles George Will head on. Although it seems to date from 2005, which gives an indication of quite how long Will has been misrepresenting reality to his readership. I must presume deliberately, because I can hardly imagine no-one's pointed this sort of thing out to him.

* * *

The nature of science is that it creates a lot of data

It does. Another poster, The Gentleman, would have a lot to write on regarding how popular journalism is biased by so much, from the desire for profits to the desire for access.

The links you provide can be confusing. Is this poster ridiculing a science board for finding:

" Global cooling and related rapid changes of environment,
substantially exceeding the fluctuations experienced by man in historical
times, must be expected within the next few millennia or even centuries." ?

http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/kukla-matthews-science-1972.html

For now, do you think the Fiscal Cliff and the Sequester in the USA constitute crisis? Do you agree the MSM will over-blow a matter to create hysterical, profit producing headlines and gain access to those that profit by creating an atmosphere of crisis where there is none?

Glasgow:
Believing that our tiny contribution to the CO2 or other similar gasses that exacerbate the greehouse effect is the sole reason for the shift in climate is wrong. The largest and most important is the sun, after which there are other impacts on the planet's atmosphere. The change of the climate isn't a scam, it's a natural occurrence. The alarmists are pushing for more research and more money spent on their sector as the 'renewable energy' fields struggle to get up on their feet. Had it not been for Thatcher nuclear energy would have been much less advanced than today. It's much less effective to produce energy through any renewable energy source than any of the older methods, but scientists keep on pushing for more advancements in the field to make these forms of energy production more appealing. Great for them, but stop scaring my neighbors.

Yeah, the sun argument is bull. See, solar activity goes through 11 year cycles, so we have a damn good idea how changes in solar activity affect temperature. The sun is nowhere near the largest factor.

However, the data shows that the excess greenhouse gasses could have decreased the effective emissivity of the earth by enough to account for observed temperature change.

As a rule, if you're favoured theory requires all of the relevant academia to be in on a big scam/conspiracy in order for it to be correct, it probably isn't.

ClockworkPenguin:
As a rule, if you're favoured theory requires all of the relevant academia to be in on a big scam/conspiracy in order for it to be correct, it probably isn't.

I hate to say it, but that sort of thing has happened occasionally, due to hidebound and conservative attitudes.

I'm not saying that's the case here or anything, just that scientists are humans too, and sometimes aren't particularly scientific.

thaluikhain:

ClockworkPenguin:
As a rule, if you're favoured theory requires all of the relevant academia to be in on a big scam/conspiracy in order for it to be correct, it probably isn't.

I hate to say it, but that sort of thing has happened occasionally, due to hidebound and conservative attitudes.

I'm not saying that's the case here or anything, just that scientists are humans too, and sometimes aren't particularly scientific.

There have been many occasions when science as a whole was slow to accept new theories which challenged the prevailing thought. But that's partly the 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' and as the evidence built up, consensus changed.

Certainly, glasgows idea that man-made global warming is a scam to secure funding for renewable energy sources is ridiculous, not least because there is no obvious mechanism by which climate scientists benefit from it.

ClockworkPenguin:

thaluikhain:

ClockworkPenguin:
As a rule, if you're favoured theory requires all of the relevant academia to be in on a big scam/conspiracy in order for it to be correct, it probably isn't.

I hate to say it, but that sort of thing has happened occasionally, due to hidebound and conservative attitudes.

I'm not saying that's the case here or anything, just that scientists are humans too, and sometimes aren't particularly scientific.

There have been many occasions when science as a whole was slow to accept new theories which challenged the prevailing thought. But that's partly the 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' and as the evidence built up, consensus changed.

Certainly, glasgows idea that man-made global warming is a scam to secure funding for renewable energy sources is ridiculous, not least because there is no obvious mechanism by which climate scientists benefit from it.

Oh yes, of course, I meant that the basic idea that scientific consensus doesn't equate to truth isn't always wrong.

In the case of denying AGW, bring up solipsism or don't bother trying, really.

ClockworkPenguin:

Glasgow:
Believing that our tiny contribution to the CO2 or other similar gasses that exacerbate the greehouse effect is the sole reason for the shift in climate is wrong. The largest and most important is the sun, after which there are other impacts on the planet's atmosphere. The change of the climate isn't a scam, it's a natural occurrence. The alarmists are pushing for more research and more money spent on their sector as the 'renewable energy' fields struggle to get up on their feet. Had it not been for Thatcher nuclear energy would have been much less advanced than today. It's much less effective to produce energy through any renewable energy source than any of the older methods, but scientists keep on pushing for more advancements in the field to make these forms of energy production more appealing. Great for them, but stop scaring my neighbors.

Yeah, the sun argument is bull. See, solar activity goes through 11 year cycles, so we have a damn good idea how changes in solar activity affect temperature. The sun is nowhere near the largest factor.

However, the data shows that the excess greenhouse gasses could have decreased the effective emissivity of the earth by enough to account for observed temperature change.

As a rule, if you're favoured theory requires all of the relevant academia to be in on a big scam/conspiracy in order for it to be correct, it probably isn't.

I think you're jumping the gun here on your third paragraph.

These auto-cuts are probably the only way defense spending will ever be reduced in the USA rather than increased for additional wasteful spending and transfer of public money into private hands. So while the sequester is certainly painful, I've come to the conclusion that it should happen. Considering the "compromises" that are floating around are reducing spending on the citizenship even further while not at all reducing presents to private corporations, I can't help but think that the sequester will be better than any such "compromise" would ever be.

As for climate change? Really? One of the primary aspects of it is the overall warming of the Earth, which - due to how climate and weather work - can and will involve more extreme weather conditions, both regarding heat and coldness. It's why you've had record snowstorms as well as the hottest summers on record.

Anyway, climate change is happening, no matter how much anti-science propagandists would like you not to believe it. Usually, of course, their reasons are very simple and short-term oriented towards profit within the next few years. The main issue really is that so few people think long-term; it's why so many corporations are ultimately self-destructive in their hunt for short-term profits. People could make a ton of profit by dealing with climate change head-on, but that would require investment and innovation.

Skeleon:
These auto-cuts are probably the only way defense spending will ever be reduced in the USA rather than increased for additional wasteful spending and transfer of public money into private hands. So while the sequester is certainly painful, I've come to the conclusion that it should happen. Considering the "compromises" that are floating around are reducing spending on the citizenship even further while not at all reducing presents to private corporations, I can't help but think that the sequester will be better than any such "compromise" would ever be.

As for climate change? Really? One of the primary aspects of it is the overall warming of the Earth, which - due to how climate and weather work - can and will involve more extreme weather conditions, both regarding heat and coldness. It's why you've had record snowstorms as well as the hottest summers on record.

Anyway, climate change is happening, no matter how much anti-science propagandists would like you not to believe it. Usually, of course, their reasons are very simple and short-term oriented towards profit within the next few years. The main issue really is that so few people think long-term; it's why so many corporations are ultimately self-destructive in their hunt for short-term profits. People could make a ton of profit by dealing with climate change head-on, but that would require investment and innovation.

thats it in one. you see people dismissing climate change with "see record snow storms"its not getting hotter. while failing to understand it means far more extreme weather more often

there are a few worrying things happening.. the glaciers that feed the ganges river for instance have been receeding at an astounding rate and are due to disappear in the next 30 years. no glacier, no river, no water for over a billion people.

the greenland iceshelf is shedding ice at an extreme rate as well with the potential to dilute and shift the gulf stream or turn it off entirely. that goes and yeah good bye most of the northern hemisphere as they loose the warm temperatures

Climate change is very long-term and subtle. The earth has on average been getting warmer, and extreme weather events more frequent. Also, if you look at the trend in average temperatures over time the 60's-70's showed a pretty sharp decline (possibly because of CFCs)

image

It's hard to get excited about crises that don't have a very obvious effect, and that's precisely why they are the most dangerous kind.

Esotera:
It's hard to get excited about crises that don't have a very obvious effect, and that's precisely why they are the most dangerous kind.

A common analogy is the frog sitting in slowly heating water not jumping out despite boiling temperatures. Things that aren't sensational enough because they are incremental don't make the news and thus are not in the public consciousness. And when weather crises occur and the media reports on them (even in connection to climate change) it creates false expectations regarding the impact of the process. Rather than an incremental change and perhaps increase in droughts, failed harvests, fires and otherwise more extreme climates, people focus solely on particular weather events, failing completely to understand the difference between weather and climate. This misunderstanding, I believe, is the main reason that the "it snowed today"-arguments against climate change have any traction whatsoever.

I don't know if Will is outright calling global warming a fraud. What I found surprising in his column was that a lot more news sources were reporting global cooling in the 1970s than I would have thought reading here. Now we have a problem where we have to ask ourselves what we can get excised about. We hear about crisis so much the word is losing meaning.

I just read on Drudge that a tiny fraction cut of spending is going to be like shutting down a multi trillion dollar a year budget.

I don't think this is a monetary crisis but one of leadership.

http://www.drudgereport.com/

I don't buy statistics in Op-Ed pieces. Will can quote all the government spending has increased so a small cut won't matter, but I'm sure he is just cherry picking arguments. As a personal anecdote, I'm trying to graduate and find a post-doctoral position in chemistry- but have had a ton of issues with faculty being unsure of whether or not they will have money next year.

Simply put my issue with sequestration is not the amount- it could be 5% or 50% but rather the idea that are government only functions by holding itself hostage. Its been something like 900 days since they based the legislation leading to this event the numbers don't matter but the process does.

Something else to consider is the voters that gets furloughed will remember the republicans like Will who gleefully accept this pruning. I might not have a job in the fall because Congress cant decide on whether or not they want to fund the NSF, I'll remember that when it comes time to vote next election- I'm certainly not voting for any incumbents.

Gorfias:

The links you provide can be confusing. Is this poster ridiculing a science board for finding:

" Global cooling and related rapid changes of environment,
substantially exceeding the fluctuations experienced by man in historical
times, must be expected within the next few millennia or even centuries." ?

Not ridiculing; just some criticisms.

He points out it's not a scientific paper. Nor is it a board per se; it's a report from some sort of conference meeting - I would guess something like a minisymposium. The other issue relevant to the discussion here is that the perspective regarding the ice age starting in "the next few millennia". 1000+ years is a very long time. He also points out that this was before certain things were understood about ice age cycles that invalidated it, although that is of course not germane to whether there were stories in the 1970s about a cooling "crisis".

Like I said, this was also a minority view amongst scientists even at the time.

For now, do you think the Fiscal Cliff and the Sequester in the USA constitute crisis? Do you agree the MSM will over-blow a matter to create hysterical, profit producing headlines and gain access to those that profit by creating an atmosphere of crisis where there is none?

I do think the atmosphere of crisis is not just the media, but partly points scoring by politicians.

Is it a crisis? I don't know how you'd define what separates a problem from a crisis. Opinion, I guess. I'm personally not sure the fiscal cliff rates as an economic crisis in and of itself, anyway. However, I might suggest it is part of a wider crisis. Politically, there is factionalism and intransigence crippling good governance, thus a wider anxiety - a weak economy, high debts, and two parties too busy fighting each other to steer the ship in troubled waters.

At any rate, however bad this "crisis" is, it's a damn sight less dangerous than that of 2007/8.

Glasgow:
The alarmists are pushing for more research and more money spent on their sector as the 'renewable energy' fields struggle to get up on their feet. Had it not been for Thatcher nuclear energy would have been much less advanced than today. It's much less effective to produce energy through any renewable energy source than any of the older methods, but scientists keep on pushing for more advancements in the field to make these forms of energy production more appealing. Great for them, but stop scaring my neighbors.

that's just rubbish.

i worked in the Scottish electricity industry for over a decade. before than i did a 6 year apprenticeship including 4 years part time at college and 2 years in an industry owned residential training centre in Cumberland. i was one of the last of the "time-served multi-skilled craft apprentices" ever trained in Britain and was able to switch trades to any in the electricity industry with a mere two weeks "refresher". (i could have done 8 modules at collage an qualified as an operational engineer but then engineers made less money than i did...) "they don't make people like me any more" and i personally trained the next generation of apprentices (even though they could never reach my own level of skill/knowledge because they never did anything like the practice/theory i did and they were never "multi-skilled")...i know my shit when it comes to the electrical industry basically.

so please listen when i say this: electricity companies love "renewables" because every plant is basically a licence to print money.

hell, before privatisation the north of Scotland (all of it north of Stirling including Fife) was SOLELY supplied by hydro electric power and they were (and still are) exporting the excess for profit.

the "hydro board" was FORCED to diversify it's energy production come privatization.

Cruachan (inside Ben Cruachan on the shores of Loch Awe), the jewel in hydros crown, was handed to the SSEB in exchange for a conventional station to massive consternation from the hydro board and literally cheers of joy from the SSEB.

Cruachan is a pumped storage station, a vast "battery" for storing energy (something many ill informed claim can't be done when discussing renewables), and was a hugely important installation for the hydro board. owning it gave the SSEB a hugely beneficial operational flexibility that arguably the hydro board needed more than they did (but then the decision wasn't made by people who really understood the industry. to the decision makers it was simplistically just "a hydro station" and they thought the two companies need more diversification on the generation side prior to privatisation).

the ONLY reason the old hydro board and the SSEB (Which later became SSE and Scottish Power) bought nuclear units at wholesale is because they were legally mandated to buy a minimum set percentage both before and after privatization.

as a senior employee at the time of the privatisation transition and due being an employee shareholder i have personally read the privatisation documents which mandated exactly that.

and i know that as both public and private companies (with an eye on the bottom line) they didn't want to.

(you might care to note its a corruption of the principals of "a free market" being forced to buy more expensive electricity at wholesale and the extra cost was, and probably still is, passed on to the consumer.)

these companies aren't involved in renewables merely because they get "subsides" (as some would have it).

these specific companies have always been involved in renewables because they are both experienced in dealing with them because of their history and they want more because they know they are basically a licence to print money (and you can be damn sure they aren't the only ones who have "twigged" to that).

a schoolboy could work out that with no fuel costs you make more profit.

you've basically removed the in from the out.

recommissioning ? maintenance ? such costs exist in all plants but its cost was always highest in nuclear installations because of the extra regulatory compliance involved when dealing with a nuclear installation.

you don't need on site nuclear scientists checking radiation levels etc, etc in a coal or gas plant and you don't have to train all the "normal" fitters and operational staff in dealing with the extra concerns either.

nuclear was, when i was trained in the 80s/90s, over 3 times more expensive per unit at wholesale than the cheapest (which btw was "renewable" hydro) with conventional coal and gas sitting roughly in the middle.

but then as a publicly owned company then the projected costs of end of life decommissioning was legally required to be included in the per unit wholesale price...

there is nothing that i'm aware of that has fundamentally changed in the last decade or so in relation to the electrical generating industry except the rise in conventional fuel costs (which are passed on to the consumer) and as i've already stated a schoolboy could work out that "renewables" basically don't have any.

don't get me wrong nuclear has a place.

but to dismiss "renewables", especially as something "new", and especially if you are a Scot where half the country has been running on them since the 50s, is...

sry this post is a bit overly long and also a bit OT but the dismissal of "renewables" by the ill informed (for whatever reason) drives me fucking spare.

PS if you are a Scot Cruachan is well worth a visit and is partly open to the public. the whole station is built inside a mountain, the turbine/pump hall is particularly impressive if you like and appreciate "big engineering", the hydroponic plants (to supplement air quality) in the tunnels and the little buggys that whizz about make the whole place feel like a James Bond villans lair akin to Cheyenne Mountain :P

image

the flaw in the logic of the climate change deniers is pretty simply. their whole case rests on hoping climate change is in no way man made. they put all their eggs in that basket and if they are wrong then everyone is screwed.

Gorfias:
It does. Another poster, The Gentleman, would have a lot to write on regarding how popular journalism is biased by so much, from the desire for profits to the desire for access.

I wouldn't call it a bias per say, but rather a perverse incentive to provide slanted or biased coverage due to the modern ratings/hits/subscription-driven form of the media. It doesn't necessarily follow that they will be biased based on the audience either (See: Andrew Sullivan's discussion of "sponsored content"). Media outlets need to make money to hire journalists and editors, to fund servers, to rent offices, etc. If your income is driven by page views, you're going to favor content that more people are going to want to click on. A thoughtful, balanced, and in depth discussion on a subject might not attract the attention of as many people as a angry editorial rant on the same subject, so an outlet has an incentive to favor the rant over the discussion.

Of course, sometimes it can be about the content. For example: I'm sure there is a niche group of people who passionately can discuss the military strategy of the Battle at Little Bighorn, but probably not as much as one on the battle of Hoth. (Sidenote: there's some interesting perspectives on this from people whose credentials suggest they have much more pressing things to discuss.) This applies to positions as well. If it's within monetary or fundraising interests to say "global warming doesn't exist" or "there's communists in the congress" or "they're coming to take away your guns," a screwed operator is going to take those positions and watch the money flow in.

On topic: George Will's editorial is trying to support the idea that "hey, the sequester might not be as bad as we're making it out to be," a position held by several across the political spectrum. He does it in a very poor manner (for example, we actually know that, barring an intervention by the US Congress that is looking exceedingly unlikely, the sequestration cuts will happen and much of the fallout is measurable) and cites some seriously flawed concepts in the process(such as the "global cooling panic").

The cuts will almost certainly harm the US economy, but my opinion is that the source of the crisis is the Republican caucus in the US House who simply refuses to allow Boehner to negotiate on their behalf with the White House and has resulted in a lurching from crisis to crisis with no guarantee of a reasonable outcome (see: the debt-ceiling fights that never existed prior to 2011). The sequester, which was never designed to go into effect (it was supposed to be a Sword of Damocles to force negotiations), is just the current crisis at hand and the Republicans, quite frankly, need to end this kind of economic hostage taking in order to provide confidence that some form of stable governance has returned.

The Gentleman:

Gorfias:

The Gentleman, would have a lot to write on regarding how popular journalism is biased by so much, from the desire for profits to the desire for access.

I wouldn't call it a bias per say, but rather a perverse incentive to provide slanted or biased coverage due to the modern ratings/hits/subscription-driven form of the media. It doesn't necessarily follow that they will be biased based on the audience either (See: Andrew Sullivan's discussion of "sponsored content"). Media outlets need to make money to hire journalists and editors, to fund servers, to rent offices, etc. If your income is driven by page views, you're going to favor content that more people are going to want to click on. A thoughtful, balanced, and in depth discussion on a subject might not attract the attention of as many people as a angry editorial rant on the same subject, so an outlet has an incentive to favor the rant over the discussion.

An interesting distinction. Sorry I put words in your mouth.

On topic: George Will's editorial is trying to support the idea that "hey, the sequester might not be as bad as we're making it out to be," a position held by several across the political spectrum. He does it in a very poor manner (for example, we actually know that, barring an intervention by the US Congress that is looking exceedingly unlikely, the sequestration cuts will happen and much of the fallout is measurable) and cites some seriously flawed concepts in the process(such as the "global cooling panic").

The cuts will almost certainly harm the US economy,

It isn't just Will. A lot of people find it derisable that a 3% decrease in expected spending will be too much to handle. I find myself hoping it will happen just to see the results. If the results are positive (USA on path to fiscal sanity) what will it mean? If negative? (Economy really is a great Ponzi scheme and we better just pretend not to notice?)

The sequester, which was never designed to go into effect (it was supposed to be a Sword of Damocles to force negotiations), is just the current crisis at hand and the Republicans, quite frankly, need to end this kind of economic hostage taking in order to provide confidence that some form of stable governance has returned.

Conservatives have blamed Republicans for depending upon it rather than doing their job: offer budgets. ITMT, I've read our inability to agree on things is harming our economic standing more than our economics themselves.

Ugh. So much ignorance. I can't believe this is still going on. Climate Change is anthropogenic.

It's a theory that's older than the theory of tectonic plates.

I hope you understand the greenhouse effect. It's simple enough. Climate change itself isn't, but the greenhouse effect is. Gases absorb infrared radiation. The concentration of atomospheric carbon dioxide has grown from 288 parts per million which was approximately 200 years ago to 391 ppm in 2010. Not forgetting that a degraded environment reduces the capacity of the biosphere to remove and store carbon. The system is overloaded.

Glasgow:
/snip

Solar variations, which may account for an increase in the ultraviolet range of light, is only a very small part of the solar spectrum. Across the eleven year solar cycle, it varies less than 0.1% and even during the "ice age" of 1750, solar output climbed no more than 0.12%. It's likely that greenhouses gases wields more influence than the total solar output in driving the last fifty years of warming.

EDIT: I haven't even gotten into the possible complexities because of albedo, clouds and the ocean conveyor belt. Most of those will feed a feedback loop.

Esotera:
/snip

I love the pipe diagram

image

wombat_of_war:
the flaw in the logic of the climate change deniers is pretty simply. their whole case rests on hoping climate change is in no way man made. they put all their eggs in that basket and if they are wrong then everyone is screwed.

But they aren't, though. Yes, it'll cause all sorts of problems, for all sorts of people sometime in the future, but there are untold millions of people facing serious problems nobody care about anyway.

More on the sequester "crisis" from this morning's Krauthammer:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/341923/hail-armageddon-charles-krauthammer

"'The worst-case scenario for us," a leading anti-budget-cuts lobbyist told the Washington Post, "is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens."

Think about that. Worst case? That a government drowning in debt should cut back by 2.2 percent - and the country survives."

"[Obama] cannot win if "nothing bad really happens." Indeed, he'd look both foolish and cynical for having cried wolf. His incentive to deliberately make the most painful and socially disruptive cuts possible (say, oh, releasing illegal immigrants from detention) is enormous. And alarming.

Hail Armageddon."

Yikes.

EDIT: changing title of thread. While the climate change crisis is good (the topic of the book, "State of Fear") I'm more interested in this current sequester crisis.

Gorfias:

"'The worst-case scenario for us," a leading anti-budget-cuts lobbyist told the Washington Post, "is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens."

What an anti-budget-cuts lobbyist thinks is the worst case scenario is one thing, what actually IS the worst case scenario is another. But he's probably not being unreasonable here.

The estimated growth for the US economy in 2013 is 2%.

$85 billion (is that right?) in cuts is about 0.5% of a $15 trillion economy. If the impact is a straight dollar for dollar effect to the economy, it means the USA will only see 1.5% growth next year. If the $85 billion in cuts however causes a knock-on effect of 2:1 dollars lost to the general economy, then growth is only 1%. If it's a 1:2 loss, then growth 1.75%, and so on but you get the point. All the above assuming the cuts were not already factored into growth estimates.

One way or another, it's hard to see that cuts that size can derail the economy; they'll just dampen it slightly.

From a political POV of course it's all win for the budget cuts lobby. They both get a spending cut to take home to the voters AND lower growth with which to make the president look bad.

Agema:

From a political POV of course it's all win for the budget cuts lobby. They both get a spending cut to take home to the voters AND lower growth with which to make the president look bad.

Is it fair to write of the Fiscal Cliff "crisis" the President got all revenue increases with no spending cuts? Is this just striking a balance over two deals?

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